Just last year, Jonathan Lines had a memorable hunting season with his biggest bow buck ever near his Caswell County home. And when he thought his hunting career couldn’t get any better, last Saturday on opening day, he stuck a much bigger buck that will surpass his 2016 trophy. But, if the deer were cooperating that day, he would have shot a doe or a smaller buck instead, and he would have never known what he missed.
Opening day was nice and cool near Linens’ home along the Virginia line. He hunted that morning and only saw a small 6-pointer near one of his stands. That afternoon, he was planning to hunt with his friend Aaron Collins along an oak ridge about 150 yards from each other where the acorns have been falling everywhere, sparking them to tag team the spot that afternoon.
“It was raining acorns in there,” he said. “It seems to be a little early for them to be falling everywhere, but they were pouring down all over the place.”
After about 30 minutes, Linens saw a small herd of does about 60 to 70 yards away. They were eating acorns and lollygagging around on the ridge making a ton of noise in the leaves. Linens contemplated shooting one if they got close enough.
“I had no intentions on shooting a doe, but I decided I would pop one if they came close,” he said.
Soon, the does disappeared.
About 30 minutes later, a small spike and a decent 8-pointer showed up. They were chasing each other around all over the ridge right in front of Linens’ stand.
“They were chasing each other all over the place and the buck would be a great bow kill on opening day. So I stood up and drew back,” he said.
Linens hollered at the two deer to get them to stop, but they kept chasing each other over the hill and out of sight. Frustrated, he released the tension on his arrow and sat back down.
Thirty minutes later, he looked up and about 50 yards away, he saw the huge 150-class buck standing on the ridge eating acorns.
“I stood up and drew back, but I was shaking so bad I just couldn’t make the shot,” he said.
He let the tension off his arrow and waited. The buck worked his way through the trees, stopping at 34 yards behind a tree. Linens drew back again.
“He looked up at me and was trying to figure out what I was. But, I didn’t have a shot. His shoulder was behind the tree,” he said. “I was still shaking like crazy and wondering when he was going to take off.”
Once the buck turned his head and walked to the other side of the tree, Linens hollered at the deer to get him to stop.
“He tensed up giving me just enough time to release the arrow,” he said.
The deer took off toward Collins, and Linens heard the deer collapse somewhere over the hill. He called Collins and they decided to wait until dark to go after the deer since there was plenty of daylight left. But, at 10 minutes before dark, Collins called Linens, saying he had already gotten out of the stand to look for the deer and had some bad news.
“I walked over to look for your deer and the deer stood up and ran off,” Collins said to Linens.
Linens was fuming and deflated. He didn’t like hearing Collins had pushed his deer, especially after they’d discussed waiting until dark to look for it.
Luckily, Collins was just giving Linens a hard time. The buck was lying right where he was supposed to be.
“He was just messing with me. But, I was tore up,” said Linens.
The mainframe 8-pointer was in full velvet and had 12-inch G2s and an 18-inch inside spread.
Click here to see another trophy buck kill on video, this one in Chatham County.